The start of the school year is always a little nuts, but add COVID and things are getting straight up bananas. That’s right, bananas.
In an attempt to gain even just a little sense of control over it all, I turn to one of my organizational go-tos: lists. Lists help me get all the things out of my head and onto paper. They help me gain the clarity I need to move forward when life feels overwhelming.
Here are the lists I make each week when I’m in a particularly crazy season of life:
Whenever I’m feeling completely overwhelmed, like there are a million things floating in my head and I have no idea where to start or what to do next, I do a brain dump. I write down everything that I know I need to get done that week, whether it’s big or small. Just getting it down on paper helps relieve my anxiety and helps me prioritize what has to be done immediately and what can wait.
Weekly To-Do List
Now it’s time to decide what has to get done right away to help ease that “already behind” feeling. I write down the most urgent and important deadlines and tasks that need to be addressed to help me feel like I’m starting the week off on the right foot. Having a productive Monday can set the whole week up for success.
Weekly To-Don’t List
Even more important than deciding what you need to do is deciding what you don’t need to do. I often put so much pressure on myself to move forward on projects that don’t necessarily need to get done during a busy week. Ask yourself what can possibly get pushed off and what can be moved all together. Look at your to-dos as well as your calendar to make some cuts.
Grocery List and Meal Planning
If I don’t have a house full of healthy groceries and at least a dinner plan for the week, I’m not off on a good start, especially during the school year and with the start of new kids’ activities in the afternoons and evenings. We eat almost every meal at home during the week and now we’re all here a lot more with both of us working from home.
When there’s a plan and it isn’t a struggle to come up what to eat, everyone is happier and I don’t have to feel like I’m scrambling at the end of a long day. Added bonus: these two lists help us eat healthier and save money.
Evening and Morning Routines
If I’m overwhelmed, I think through what my mornings and evenings will look like that week. How can I carve out some time for myself and ease the stress? In the morning, this often looks like waking up earlier, reviewing my calendar and to-list, doing some writing and working out. At night, a good routine for me includes prepping for the next day and then sitting down with some tea and a book. It doesn’t matter what your routines look like as long as they allow you to take a breath and refuel.
Control over your week – even when life feels chaotic – is possible! Good luck with the start of the school year, friends!